Denmark lifts COVID restrictions, opens many public venues

FILE - Poeple queue to enter the art museum ARoS, in Aarhus, Denmark, May 19, 2020. Denmark has lifted a number of coronavirus restrictions and allowed the reopening of certain venues despite the spread of the omicron variant in the country. Cinemas, zoos, museums and theaters were among the places that could open their doors Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022. (Bo Amstrup/ Ritzau Scanpix via AP, File) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
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HELSINKI (AP) — Denmark lifted a number of coronavirus restrictions and allowed the reopening of certain venues Sunday despite the spread of the omicron variant in the country.

Cinemas, zoos, museums and theaters were among the places that could welcome visitors again. Limited numbers of spectators also were allowed to attend indoor and outdoor sports events.

Visitors are required to wear masks at most of these places and provide proof that they have been vaccinated or have recovered or recently tested negative for COVID-19.

The government is planning to relax coronavirus restrictions further in Denmark, a country of 5.8 million, on Jan. 31.

Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke told reporters earlier this week that the government was monitoring the pandemic situation carefully and “wouldn’t have supported the reopening if it hadn’t been for a clear approach both from our own and from external experts.”

The omicron variant is less likely to cause severe illness than the previous delta variant, according to early studies. Omicron spreads more easily than other coronavirus strains, and has already become dominant in many countries. It also more easily infects those who have been vaccinated or had previously been infected by prior versions of the virus.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Wednesday that lifting of the restrictions was based on the recommendations by the government’s own health expert advisory group — the Epidemic Commission — and that her Cabinet “intends to follow the recommendations” of the panel.

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